Think those young American Idol kids get exploited for their talent?
Sure, Idol production company 19 Entertainment and their record label can take 15% of their earnings, for up to 10 years.
But plenty of the stars make hundreds of thousands, regardless. Idol winners make at least $1 million during their first year after the win. Last year’s winner, Kris Allen, has already earned $650,000, according to the New York Times.
Any American Idol-er who busts into the final five can expect to make $100,000 off the Idol show.
Each performer gets $1,011 for singing their hearts out for each one-hour taping, and $1,540 for a two-hour episode, according to the Times. Add that up for a whole season, and each Top 5 contestant makes nearly $10,000 total just in performance fees.
Kris nabbed a $350,000 advance on his 19 Recordings/Jive Records recording contract (the average musician gets a $100,000 to $150,000 advance). The album, released in November 2009, sold a disappointing 80,000 copies in its first week, the weakest debut of any Idol winner. It landed at No. 11 spot on Nielsen SoundScan's Top Current Albums chart.
According to his contracts, Disney was set to pay him another $100,000 for taping a vocal performance for the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade TV show.
Each of the Top 10 Idol contestants head out on a tour across the country after the finale. Idol ex-pat Megan Joy told MTV, that the top 10 finishers 'stand to make several thousand dollars for the show in addition to the summer tour money.'
While these record contracts are often very lucrative for the Idol stars, a few go off and broaden their careers and rack up their earnings. Jennifer Hudson, for example, left the recording studio to star in the blockbuster hit Sex and the City, and to play an Oscar-worthy role in Dream Girls. According to 1010 Wins, Hudson is the second highest earner of the Idol winners, with $5 million.
But while Jennifer Hudson is impressive, Carrie Underwood reigns as queen. According to 1010 Wins, the three-time Grammy winner has made an estimated $14 million off record sales, plus endorsements with Vitamin Water.
Not all Idol winners take their $1 million dollars and become famous. Just ask Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino. (Who?)
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